Her Need


PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

She was in the bathroom, staring in the mirror, with that look she got sometimes. Like no amount of heat could make her warm.

I didn’t need this now. Not with the mother of all meetings tomorrow. The whole Cybertown deal rested on my presentation. I needed to sleep. I needed be sharp. I didn’t need her need.

I realized then I could turn around. She hadn’t seen me. I could slip back out, through the bedroom and down the hall. She could deal with this herself.

She was so very pale.

I walked up, touched her shoulder. “What’s wrong, dear?”

101 words

This story was inspired by a similar story which Brene Brown shares in one of her wonderful books, although I can’t recall which one because I’ve read and loved them all. I’ve taken some fictional liberties with the fictionalized account.

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented and generous Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s photo prompt courtesy Rochelle! To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.




  1. Interestingly conflicted

    1. Thanks for reading Neil 🙂

  2. Some things are more important, he made the right decision.

    1. I think so too! Thanks for reading, Iain.

  3. Lovely, real snippet of a relationship. Sometimes another person’s pain or suffering is just too much, no matter how in need they are. But he was there for her – a good man indeed. Lovely, sparse writing. Perfect pitch as always with you. Think you might be missing an ‘I’ in the thrid para, though. Lovely story

    1. Thanks so much Lynn, you’re very kind!

      1. My absolute pleasure

  4. It’s reads like a true story. Didn’t need her need was beautiful. Finally though love wins over. Love the ending.

  5. The narrator made the right move. It has been said that a moral act is one that you feel good after doing. I assume that skiving down the stairs to avoid her would not feel good afterward. Nicely done.

  6. I liked the phrase “didn’t need her need.” It says so much.

    1. Thank you so much! Thanks for reading.

  7. Dear Karen,

    Sounds like a difficult place to be in. I, too, loved the line “I didn’t need her need…” Sometimes a relationship turns out to be more than we bargained for. Well done.



    1. Thank Rochelle! Thanks for reading. I did not have so much trouble writing this one as I did last week. Hope the muse sticks around for awhile!

  8. Smashing story, Karen. You captured his momentary hesitation beautifully.

    1. Thank you so much Penny! Thank you for reading.

  9. Such a touching and realistic portrayal of those stressful moments where you have to choose between priorities. I’m glad the narrator chose love over work. Work will still be there tomorrow. Love may not.

    I especially liked the line about not needing her need.

    1. Aw thanks Joy. Thanks so much for reading!

  10. Very real, very raw. This is life as it often happens. Nicely done.

  11. Bless his dear heart! It takes courage to stay and listen, but courage bonds a couple together.

  12. Dale

    Like many above, the “need her need” really struck a nerve.
    True love that. Putting himself aside for her. I just hope it is not a never-ending thing…

  13. I wonder how many of us find ourselves in a situation such as this? A poignant tale indeed.

    Click to read my FriFic

  14. Powerful scene. I think we’ve all been in those positions where we had to suck it up and put a loved one’s needs ahead of our own. Personally, I think that’s what we’ll be judged on when the final bell tolls.

    1. For sure. Thank you for reading!

  15. I’m glad he decided not to sneak away. That would have been quite cowardly and selfish. Some things are more important than meetings 🙂

  16. Left me wanting to know more. Is she so pale because she’s dead? ill? Why is he so anxious to be gone? Loved the story… off to write some more on my own…the gatehouse awaits…

    1. Looking forward to your story, Jelli. Thanks for reading mine!

  17. Competing priorities. I don’t think there’s a married person who hasn’t experienced them.

    1. That is for sure! Thanks for reading, James.

  18. Oh, how often we’ve all been there with friends and family and sometimes strangers. Hopefully, most of us react the way your kind gentleman did. Nicely done, my dear.

    1. For sure. I like the way you put that 😉 Thanks for reading!

    2. I always enjoy your work.

      1. Right back atcha Lish!

  19. Sometimes it’s better to follow the heart than the head. Expertly constructed tale. Well done.

    1. Thanks for your kind words & thanks for reading!

  20. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    Nice portrayal of life. You drew me into their world with skill.

  21. A moment of indecision to change her life. Liked the vagueness of this one, Karen. 😀

    1. Thanks Kelvin. Vagueness is 100 words–I need another 50 to manage any sort of clarity 😉
      Thanks for reading!

      1. S’okay I liked the vagueness! But those other 50 words are a godsend, hey?! 😇

      2. I’m becoming addicted to them! I think I need to be doing the Friday Fictioneers more to keep on track. 😉

      3. It is good practice. I am really in the swing and am just completing two flash fiction linked short stories for a competition, and an anthology of 100 flash fiction stories… but ssh… keep it under that lovely bonnet of yours!

      4. I’m afraid you can’t keep your ninja skills a secret!

  22. I think she made the only choice possible….

  23. You’ve told a great deal between the lines of this scene Karen, well done

  24. A very human conflict. I think every care-giver feels annoyed and selfish at times. What counts is the right choice in the end. Wonderful story.

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